Robert Kraft Says Patriots Always Made Fun of Teams Spending Big in Free Agency

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 22, 2021

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft points to special teams captain Matthew Slater before an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Monday, Dec. 28, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Elise Amendola/Associated Press

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft said he understands the team's free-agent spending frenzy doesn't guarantee future results.

"We'll see," Kraft told NBC Sports' Peter King in an interview released Monday. "I do remember we always made fun of the teams that spent a lot in the offseason. So we know nothing is guaranteed, and I'm very cognizant of that."

The Patriots spent around $175 million in guaranteed contract money during the first two days of free agency, per King. Tight ends Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry, linebacker Matthew Judon, safety Jalen Mills and wide receiver Nelson Agholor were among the players brought in.

Kraft explained the Pats wanted to take advantage of having ample salary-cap space in a year where most front offices were scrambling to restructure contracts in order to make up for the cap dropping from $198.2 million to $182.5 million because of the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

"We had the second- or third-most cap room at the start of free agency," Kraft told King. "This year, instead of having 10 or 12 teams competing for most of the top players, there were only two or three. And in my 27 years as owner, I've never had to come up with so much capital before."

He later added: "It's like investing in the stock market. You take advantage of corrections and inefficiencies in the market when you can, and that's what we did here. We'll see. Nothing is guaranteed, and I'm very cognizant of that. But we're not in the business to be in business. We're in this business to win."

New England also re-signed quarterback Cam Newton before the start of free agency, but it wouldn't be a surprise to see the Pats add a prospect early in the draft to compete with the 2015 NFL MVP.

All told, the Patriots clearly wanted to bounce back after a 7-9 campaign in 2020 that marked their first playoff-less season since 2008 and their first sub-.500 record since 2000. Not to mention watching Tom Brady leave the organization only to win his seventh Super Bowl title with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

New England's moves aren't yet enough to make the team a preseason championship favorite like it typically was throughout the Brady era, but the Pats should be far more competitive in 2021.